The grand Shobha Yatra to commemorate the re-consecration of a Durga temple at old Delhi’s Lal Kuan on Tuesday presented a picture of communal harmony as Muslims showered rose petals on the participants, garlanded them, offered water, cold drinks and food.
The idols were re-established at a Durga temple that had been accidentally desecrated during a clash between two groups of youth on June 30. It had created tension in the area. The police have already arrested around a dozen people who were allegedly involved in the June 30 clash.
The matter that had quickly taken a communal colour thanks to a few vested interests, had been resolved two days later on July 2 after talks between the two communities in the presence of senior police officials.
On Tuesday, a grand Shobha Yatra procession was taken out by the Durga Mandir committee to mark the reinstallation of idols. The procession, with men dancing on the loud music and raising ‘jai shri Ram’ slogans, started from Hauz Qazi and traversed through Lal Kuan, Khari Baoli and back.
There was some apprehension ahead of the yatra, and the police had made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mandeep Singh Randhawa told National Herald that there were around 3,000 people participated in the yatra. More than 2,000 police and paramilitary persons had been deputed to maintain law and order.
The police was also keeping an eye on the situation through the drones that were hovering just above the crowd, apart from over 300 CCTV cameras that had been installed at various places on the route of the yatra and near the mandir.
The permission for the yatra was sought by the mandir committee.
However, some people saw the entire thing a bit differently. Navaid Hamid, the president of Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and a resident of Lal Kuan said: “Why was this entire issue blown out of proportion in the first places? This could have been resolved on that day itself, but for the vested interests.”
On the Shobha Yatra he said: “I think the BJP and the right wing Hindu parties want to play up such incidents to polarise the voters ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections. Otherwise, once the issue had been resolved days back, there was perhaps no need to take out such a yatra. Of course, I am not questioning anybody’ right to take out a peaceful procession, but I am speaking in this particular context.”
Notably, a number of prominent BJP leaders including former Lok Sabha MP from Chandni Chowk and Union minister Vijay Goyal, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari and newly elected MP Hans Raj Hans also turned up at the yatra.
The incident that had started after a clash between a few men over the parking of a motorcycle outside gali Chabuk Sawar, which is bang opposite the Durga mandir gali, assumed a different colour the very next morning with the local BJP leaders blaming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA and minister Imran Hussain for fanning the communal passions. Hussain’s men, in turn, alleged that a former MLA was behind the drama.
"The procession started at 11 a.m. in which people from both the communities took part. There were Muslims from the area who offered support by serving food in the feast which was for the public," said Tara Chand Saxena, secretary of the Durga Mandir committee.
Jamshed Siddiqui, president of the Lal Kuan Aman Committee, which had arranged for water and snacks for the Shobha yatra participants said that the committee wanted to give the message of communal harmony and brotherhood. Another group of Muslims fed poori and sabzi to the participants.